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Thread: Babies who aren't big eaters?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    212

    Default Babies who aren't big eaters?

    Anyone else out there with babies who just aren't big eaters? I keep reading posts about babies who want to nurse constantly and, honestly, it makes me a bit jealous. My little girlie (11.5 weeks) has never been a very demanding nursling. I offer her to nurse FAR more often than she shows any feeding cues at all.

    Her growth and diapers are both fine, so I'm not concerned that she isn't getting enough milk. But sometimes I feel like she wouldn't get enough if I wasn't constantly offering. We've had lots of issues with her popping off constantly during feedings and I realized recently that maybe she does that when she doesn't actually want to eat (although I know they're supposed to be able to nurse without getting much/any milk if they want...). I'm considering offering a little less often to see if she nurses "better" (ie. longer cycles of strong sucking and swallowing instead of bringing the letdown then constantly popping on and off every suck or two). Right now she's at the breast at least 12 times a day, but many of those are just snacky type nursings...

    Anyway, just looking for others who also have babies who don't seem to be big eaters. I need reassurance that it's okay and we can still maintain a long nursing relationship, even if she isn't a ravenous little nurser.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    I can sort of relate. My guy (who is now 16 months and still breastfeeding a few times per day) has never been that interested in nursing. Unlike your baby, though, mine has always been pretty small. He even fell off the weight charts for a while, so be happy her growth is good! When I was first breastfeeding, I remember reading posts from mothers who were overwhelmed by how often their babies wanted to nurse, and I also felt a little sad because mine just didn't seem to care about nursing. I thought he was self-weening around a year, but I kept offering, and he's more interested now than he ever was in the beginning! I wish you a long, happy breastfeeding relationship. Know that you aren't the only one with a baby who isn't always interested in nursing.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    Thanks for sharing your story! It helps to not feel alone. My older son was a micropreemie who was unable to nurse at the breast because he aspirated (sucked liquid into his lungs when swallowing), so I pumped for him for 9 months (we then thickened the milk for a safer swallow). Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of his feeding issues and he was eventually diagnosed as failure to thrive...

    So, with that baggage, I would so love to have a little one who can't get enough to eat...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,594

    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    I offer her to nurse FAR more often than she shows any feeding cues at all.
    Nursing "cues" come from mom as well as from baby in my opinion. Maybe your baby has very subtle cues. Maybe you offer just before she would cue. Does it matter? The suggestion to cue feed does not mean "whatever you do, wait until your baby cues to nurse, or else." It means, it is not a good idea to scedule set feeding times for your baby, thus IGNORING baby's cues.

    IN my situation I have overproduction and a 6 week old. I offer to nurse my baby prior to her cuing all the time, because I have felt a letdown and it hurts and I am ready to nurse. Works for us.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    Good points, Meg. What would you do if your baby repeatedly popped off during nursing. Like after every such. She latches, sucks, then pulls off. Repeat. Repeat. Etc. Would you take that as a sign that she doesn't really want to nurse and is just latching on out of instinct. Or would you let her continue until she doesn't want to latch back on?

    That's basically been how nursing has gone the past two days, unless she falls asleep immediately, then she stays on better. Although today she has been pulling off, arching her back and crying repeatedly. She started reflux meds this week, so I wouldn't have expected her eating to get worse. She's also clicking (breaking latch while staying on) while asleep, which is also new. She's been drooling a bunch this week - I wonder if it's too early for her to be working on teeth...11.5 weeks?

  6. #6
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    As long as the popping on and off was not hurting me, I would not worry about it. If it had been a while since baby nursed, I would keep trying for a while, and if baby was not going for it, I would try another comfort measure (if baby is fussy) or just do somethign else for a while, and then try again. In my experience, a baby may say no no no no and then suddenly yes 10 minutes later iykwim.
    A sudden onset of continuous odd nursing behavior would indicate to me that there is possibly some source of discomfort or pain. It's not too early for teething. Other things could be ear ache or a cold or seasonal allergy causing stuffiness which sometimes makes nursing difficult. She may be having a reaction to the reflux meds, ppi's can cause lower gastrointestinal issues. and if she has painful reflux and is not responding to the meds, you may need a different dose or different med.

    I assume forceful letdown has been ruled out?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Babies who aren't big eaters?

    Thanks Meg. I'm not uncomfortable, so that's a plus. This is actually the second time that she's shown this behavior. Once was a couple weeks ago for a few days. Then she stopped doing it and then started it up again on Saturday. We had met with an IBCLC last Monday and had a few days of terrific nursing (she helped with a shallow latch), so it's a bit discouraging to be h ing this popping off issue again. When it happened before, I took her into her ped, who said her ears looked fine (course that could be different this time). She doesn't seem congested or ill. I have had forceful letdown in the past (and it's still a bit forceful in the mornings), but it has gotten better as my supply has regulated a bit. I do spray on the right side occasionally, so I'll letdown into a towel when she pulls off. Or lay back while nursing. But her popping off happens before, during and after letdown...

    The reflux med seems to be helping her symptoms (swallowing/gulping between feedings with red, watery eyes, giant spit ups, etc). I don't think it's actually a PPI. I looked it up (Axid) and think it said it's an H2? Not sure what the difference is...?

    Good advice about trying aging just a short while later. She may be one who says no no no, then yes...

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